SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium (CMC): World champion Lewis Hamilton equalled the legendary Ayrton Senna with 80 podium finishes, as he cruised to victory in yesterday’s Belgian Grand Prix. The Brit, who started on pole, took the chequered flag in one hour, 23.40 minutes, to beat Mercedes teammate and main title rival Nico Rosberg into second and record his sixth win of the Formula One season and the 39th of an already stellar career. Lotus’ Romain Grosjean finished third for the troubled outfit’s first podium in two years. “It’s been incredible. The whole circuit just packed out with all you fans. So thank you all for coming. And for me, just an amazing weekend again,” a thrilled Hamilton said afterwards. “Incredible job done by the team throughout the pit stops, throughout the whole weekend, the guys back at the factory … . You know, today was a dream. The whole weekend, the car was fantastic. So thank you guys.” Starting on pole, Hamilton got away well, while Rosberg, second on the grid, struggled and fell behind Force India’s Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull. By the time he reclaimed second spot, Hamilton was nearly nine seconds clear and controlled the race to the end. “Nico had obviously good pace, but I was able to answer most of the time. So I was fairly relaxed at the front,” said Hamilton, whose paternal grandparents hail from Grenada. “The car, was feeling great, and it was really about looking after the tyres, particularly at the end when I saw that one of the tyres had blown on another car. I was being very cautious. So in the last two laps, Nico was allowed to close the gap.” With the win, Hamilton moved to 227 points, 28 clear of Rosberg.
Boat operators who refuse to comply with regulations of the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) regarding the fare structure have begun to feel the heat, since quite of number of operators ferrying passengers between the Georgetown and Vreed-en-Hoop Stellings have already been suspended for double-charging passengers on Sundays and holidays.This was related to Guyana Times by Harbour Master Michael Tennant, who explained that the move comes weeks after this newspaper had published several articles in which commuters called for MARAD’s invention in the situation.“We have already said that persons who are overcharging people and all such like, all the persons have to do is provide the name of the boat to us, and we will take the necessary action,” Tennant reminded this newspaper.Tennant said he was unable to give an approximate number of boat operators who have been suspended, but he noted that MARAD has begun to clamp down on errant operators in an effort to stamp out exploitation.Guyana Times had previously reported that boat operators were charging double fare on Sundays and holidays, much to the discomfiture of the travelling public; and Tennant, in an interview with this publication, had said passengers need to report the incidents for MARAD to act. He noted that complainants would be required to file an official report, which would require the name of the boat along with the time of the incident, since it would make the investigation easier.This newspaper was informed that boat operators usually demand a fare increase of an additional $100 when they transport half the number of passengers on this route.Passengers have also detailed cases when they were forced to pay the extra $100, some without even knowing that the additional fee is unlawful.Back then, when Guyana Times visited the Georgetown Stelling, some disgruntled passengers opined that the fare increase was quite burdensome and “unfair” to them. An angry passenger had said, “I ain’t get raise on my salary, so I ain’t concern with no raise of fare! I won’t go for no raise of fare!”Another frequent boat user had told Guyana Times, “I think that the fee increase on weekends and holidays is unnecessary and unacceptable. The boat captains and bowmen would have the maximum number of persons on board and still charge the $200 fee. It is a matter that should be looked into by the relevant authorities, because it’s an act of exploiting customers.”Another passenger of the water taxis had said, “We have no other choice. Sometimes — especially when they (boat operators) know that the bridge is closed — they try to exploit us, and I think that is unfair.”“The double-fare being charged by boat operators on Sundays and holidays is definitely ridiculous! It’s unethical! This was never approved! I believe only persons who aren’t aware of this are the ones that are being targeted. I pay $100 on those days, especially when the boats travel with a full load,” another passenger had said.A bowman who spoke to this newspaper had said the fares are increased on Sundays and holidays because those are not full working days.“Sundays and holidays is $200 (charged) because we ain’t supposed to be working. So them man does come out because them ain’t got nothing fuh do (and them want) fuh try and help de passengers to get across more fast. $200 a head. Me ain’t know why them (passengers) does row, because this is de cheapest boat fare around here,” he had declared.